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Law Hum Behav. 2012 Dec;36(6):478-87. doi: 10.1037/h0093931. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

Retrieval does not always enhance suggestibility: testing can improve witness identification performance.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


Verbally recalling the appearance of a perpetrator and the details of an event can sometimes hinder later eyewitness memory performance. In two experiments, we investigated the effects of verbally recalling a face on people's ability to resist subsequent misinformation about that face. Participants watched a video of a theft and then completed either a recall test or a distractor activity. After a delay, some participants heard a piece of misinformation. Memory was assessed with a recall test in Experiment 1 and with a target-present lineup in Experiment 2. In both experiments, initial testing reduced eyewitness suggestibility for the face.

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